20th Century Studios (formerly 20th Century Fox) is bringing back the Predator franchise. According to Deadline, it’s brought on director Dan Trachtenberg (10 Cloverfield Lane) to direct a new installment of the series, with a script from Patrick Aison.
The latest installment will jump off from a familiar premise that we’ve encountered in a number of Predator films already, allowing filmmakers to further explore the mythology and world beyond what we’ve seen.
Deadline notes that the film won’t be a sequel to Shane Black’s 2018 film The Predator, but the studio hasn’t said what the film will be about—other than aliens hunting down unsuspecting humans for sport. Last year, Trachtenberg said that he was developing a Civil War-set film in which a Comanche woman would go “against gender norms and traditions to become a warrior,” something that he said was actually supposed to be a stealth Predator film.
This was meant to be a surprise. Been working on this for almost 4 years now. I am very sad that what we had in store for how you could discover this movie will no longer happen. It’s a bummer. But also…YAY! https://t.co/pKWz9tDAEB
— Dan Trachtenberg (@DannyTRS) November 20, 2020
The franchise got its start in 1987 with Predator, which starred Arnold Schwarzenegger (pictured above) as a special forces operative who’s on a mission with his team in South America, and comes across some gruesome scenes, only to later realize what they’re up against: A superior alien who’s tracking them down for sport. Later sequels covered similar ground—the alien Predators would pursue various humans in LA (in Predator 2), on another planet (Predators), and again on Earth (The Predator), while also putting them up against Xenomorphs in the two Alien vs. Predators films.
Setting the film in a different, non-modern era seems like it would advance that general storyline: The Predators come down to Earth to take on the planet’s more dangerous individuals, the twist being the mismatch in technology. Hopefully, Trachtenberg will be able to navigate the responsibility of handling Indigenous representation in the film (avoiding Hollywood’s history of bad depictions), and produce a story that not only plays to the strengths of the Predators franchise, but builds a bit more on it.
Three of the franchise’s four films rely on the original trope, with humans figuring out how to outsmart their pursuers to survive on Earth, while Predators changed things up by transporting a group of mercenaries and soldiers to an alien world—a film that felt as though it was lining up for a sequel that could explore a larger universe. In a franchise-driven film world, that feels as though it’s something that 20th Century Studios should do; think about where this new film fits in the larger mythology, and use its future installments to give more depth to them. Otherwise, why not just watch the original over again?